Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago v The Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago: PC 16 Aug 2018

Trinidad and Tobago – The Law Association having a constitutional duty to conduct any enquiry necessary as regards the Chief Justice. It resolved to establish a committee to enquire whether such a complaint was required, allegations having been made. The appellant’s objection that it had no power to do so was rejected, and he now appealed.
‘A vital element in any modern democratic constitution is the independence of the judiciary from the other arms of government, the executive and the legislature. This is crucial to maintaining the rule of law: the judges must be free to interpret and apply the law, in accordance with their judicial oaths, not only in disputes between private persons but also in disputes between private persons and the state. The state, in the shape of the executive, is as much subject to the rule of law as are private persons. An important part of the judicial task in a constitutional democracy is not only to ensure that public authorities act within their powers but also to enforce the fundamental rights of individuals against the state. Judicial independence is secured in a number of ways, but principally by providing for security of tenure: in particular this requires that a judge may only be removed from office, or otherwise penalised, for inability or misbehaviour and not because the government does not like the decisions which he or she makes. It is also required that removal from office should be in accordance with a procedure which guarantees fairness and the independence of the decision-makers from government.’


Lady Hale, Lord Reed, Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson, Lord Sumption


[2018] UKPC 23


Bailii, Bailii Summary


England and Wales

Constitutional, Legal Professions

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.621124